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French, T.M. (1936). A Clinical Study of Learning in the Course of a Psychoanalytic Treatment. Psychoanal Q., 5:148-194.

(1936). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 5:148-194

A Clinical Study of Learning in the Course of a Psychoanalytic Treatment

Thomas M. French


Introduction and Preliminary Survey of Case Material

A. Psychoanalytic Treatment as a Process of Reëducation

Freud once compared a psychoanalytic treatment to a process of reëducation. The present paper and those that follow it are attempts to work out some of the implications of this suggestion.

Psychoanalysis started with the modest objective of attempting to discover the content of unconscious wishes and memories. The repressing forces during this period were looked upon for the most part merely as obstacles in the search for deeper treasures which they were hiding. It was, of course, necessary to understand the obstacles sufficiently to enable the analyst to get past them to the buried wishes and memories, but Freud postponed his attempt at fundamental analysis of the repressing forces until an abundant material had been collected throwing light upon the details of the psychosexual development of the infant and upon the fate during the course of ego development of wishes deriving from earlier periods. Then in a series of studies Freud sketched out his scheme of the structure of the personality and summarized the knowledge of ego development that had grown up, one might say, more or less incidentally during the study of the repressed forces.

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